Sunday, March 29, 2015

You've Heard All About Apple Pay - Here's How To Use It

You have seen the ads about Apple's new payment system - Apple Pay, but have you tried it out? Do you have the correct combination of hardware and software. Let's take a look.

Currently, to make a payment in a supported retail store, you will need an IPhone 6 or Iphone 6 plus running at least IOS 8.1. Why not Iphone 5, 5s and 5c? Apple Pay uses NFC (Near Field Communication) and the Iphone 5 series does not have a NFC radio built in. In addition, the 5 and 5c don't have Touch ID - the fingerprint reader that is needed for authentication. For purchasing within an App, over the Internet, the IPad Air 2 and Ipad Mini 3 can also be used with Apple Pay. Iphone 5x users may feel as if Apple has "thrown them under a bus", but they still have a chance, since Apple Pay will work with the upcoming (April 2015) Apple Watch. An Apple Watch (since it has NFC), paired to an IPhone 5 will be able to make purchases using Apple Pay.



All of the major National Banks and Credit Card Companies support Apple Pay. In addition, we see more Community Banks and Credit Unions joining the ranks every month. What about "brick and mortar" retailers? This list is also growing, as they update their POS systems to accommodate the new technology. Babies ‘R’ Us, Bi-Lo, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Bloomingdale’s, Champs Sports, The Disney Store, Foot Locker, Macy’s, McDonald’s, Nike, Office Depot, Panera Bread, Sports Authority, Staples, Subway, Toys ‘R’ US, Walgreens, Whole Foods and Winn-Dixie have joined the fold. Of course, many shoppers purchase online. Apple Pay is also well supported in this venue, via in-App purchases from many online retailers - Target, Priceline, OpenTable, Staples, Starbucks, Uber to name a few.

Ok, so how do you use Apple Pay. First, you need to link a credit or debit card to you Apple Pay Account. If you already have a card linked to your Apple ID for making iTunes and App Store purchases, you can just continue using that card with Apple Pay. You can also add a different card, if you prefer. Launch the Passbook App on your IPhone and tap the plus sign in the top right corner. You’ll then be prompted to add a credit or debit card to use with Apple Pay. Follow the entry fields on the next screen. You can also take a picture of your card with your iPhone, to add the account if you find that easier. Whether you’re using the card already linked to your Apple ID or adding a new one - follow the setup process. It includes verifying your card, granting Apple Pay access, and then storing it in the Passbook App. You will also need to verify the card with its security code.

The card linked to your Apple ID will be listed as your default Apple Pay card, but you can change that by going to Settings > Passbook & Apple Pay and updating your default information.

Now let's use Apple Pay. When you go to a store that supports Apple Pay, you’ll hold your iPhone up to a wireless payment terminal near the cash register, and then use Touch ID to verify your purchase. You don't need to actually touch the terminal, and you don’t even need to wake up your iPhone or launch Passbook—your phone will wake up automatically when it gets in range of the terminal. It will initiate the payment process - waiting for you to use Touch ID to authenticate the transaction. The payment is completely anonymous and very secure. The retailer does not have your name nor does it have you credit card number - only a token. Think about it - if the retailer is Hacked (like we have seen so often) your credit card and identity is safe. They don't have any of your information to leak, because your transaction was anonymous. Recent news accounts have raised questions about Apple Pay security, but it is not the consumers security in question, it is the Banks. "Bad guys" have purchased stolen credit card data (some from the big retail Hacks - Target etc.) and used this data to add cards to Apple Pay. Unfortunately, the banks verified the data and Apple Pay was used to make fraudulent purchases. Obviously, the banks never canceled some of the previously stolen credit cards and then verified them as valid. Apple Pay, from a consumer point of view, is very secure, but the banks will need to improve their verification process.

If you purchase something through an online store or App on your IPhone 6, IPad Air 2, or IPad mini 3, you simply use Touch ID to complete the purchase. Remember the IPad Air 2 and Ipad Mini 3 do not have NFC.

So, if you have an IPhone 6 you may want to give it try. If not, there's always an Apple Watch, in April.